China thanks EU donations to assist relief efforts during coronavirus outbreak
Updated 12:04, 02-Feb-2020
A plane carrying medical supplies arrives in Wuhan, China, January 28, 2020. /Xinhua Photo

A plane carrying medical supplies arrives in Wuhan, China, January 28, 2020. /Xinhua Photo

The EU is making donations to help contain the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China, the Mission of China to the EU said on Sunday, while expressing appreciation to the efforts.

The EU has coordinated its member states and pledged around 12 tons of items to assist the relief efforts during the epidemic, such as face masks and other surgical equipment, according to the office.

China sincerely appreciates such efforts and the great support of the EU and its member states, it added.

As of February 2, the virus has killed 304 and infected 14,411 people in China. All 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the mainland have activated Level 1 emergency response. The province of Hubei, the center of the epidemic, reported 1,921 new coronavirus cases on February 1.

Live blog: Coronavirus outbreak: Over 14,400 cases confirmed in China, 304 dead

On Saturday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen discussed the epidemic over the phone.

Li asked the EU to facilitate China's urgent procurement of medical supplies from member countries.

He said the Chinese government has always given top priority to the safety and health of people, and is carrying out an open, transparent, assertive and orderly prevention and control work of the outbreak.

The government now is putting all-out efforts to ensure the supply of medical resources for medical workers in virus-hit areas and expects the EU to facilitate China's urgent purchasing of medical supplies from EU member countries, he added.

Von der Leyen said the EU recognizes China's efforts to contain the epidemic.

She said the EU highly respects and recognizes China's efforts and quick response to the outbreak and expressed the EU's support to China's prevention work.

She said the EU is willing to mobilize all resources available to facilitate ongoing efforts and is ready to provide convenience for China's purchasing of medical supplies.

On the same day, China's Finance Ministry said it will implement tax exemptions for imports of products related to curbing the coronavirus outbreak.

Materials directly used for epidemic control will be exempt from import tariffs from January 1 to March 31, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Imports of donations including ambulances and disinfectant products will also be exempt from tariffs, value-added tax and consumption tax, it added.